[USER INPUT] What is Fantasy? What is Sci-Fi? Where is the line?

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by ObiWan506, Sep 11, 2006.

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  1. ObiWan506 Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2003
    star 7
    Hello. This thread's purpose is to gather user responses on a gray area of the SFF Boards. The mods of this forum feel that ultimately the users are the ones that contribute to this board and as such we understand that your opinions matter to us. So here's the question: What is considered Fantasy? What is considered Sci-Fi? We want to know if there is a line that must be drawn between what we should allow and what we shouldn't. How do we define that line?

    Is there a difference between a film that has a little hint of Fantasy and another film that is full-blown Fantasy? Should we allow both? Or is the film with a little fantasy considered "pushing it"? What do you guys think?

    Take for example The Santa Clause. Is this fantasy enough? Which side of the line would it be on? Use this thread to conduct an open debate and let's see where the majority of the opinions lie. Your opinions are what we're going to listen to so we would appreciate it if everyone participated in this little discussion group.

    And ... go.
  2. Jedi_Master_Conor Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2005
    star 6
    Great idea to get input on the forum. :)

    As for the issue of The Santa Clause movies, I think they should be allowed in here because well I'm pretty sure everyone here has been told (i'll HTR just to make sure) Santa Clause isn't real. And since they portray in the movies he is real when he's not I see that as fantasy. As we see in those set of movies there is a lot of fantasy elements in them like the magic, elves, etc. So in regards for that set of movies I believe it does have enough fantasy to be allowed in here despite it might not be as popular as many other threads.

    I'll add more on other movies and shows later once I have more time to think.
  3. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    I would say anything with magic is still fantasy and anything with technology we do not really have is scfi even if it's a little bit.

    Predator is modern day soldiers with guns, but one alien pops up and it's scifi.

    A modern day Santa story with just one flying deer is fantasy.

    Disclosure, starring Michael Douglas features a sort of virtual reality showdown as he hacks into a system for information. This is more of a modern thriller with a technology we could make today, and have in places today, so it really does not qualify as scifi.

    Armageddon, Bruce Willis, I have no idea in what section it's found at Blockbuster, but this would be some form of thriller or action adventure since even though the technology is different it's still just space shuttles and space stations and a comet.

    Modern Problems, Chevy Chase, I'm sure is considered a comedy, but it is scfi since he gets super mind powers from some nuclear waste. You could make the argument that those powers are just an aside and that it's really more of a comedy, but then you could say the same thing for Spaceballs.
  4. Jedi_Master_Conor Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2005
    star 6
    I'd like to also add that movies or tv shows where there's an alternate future like V for Vendetta should be considered scifi or fantasy because it didn't really happen (i know there's a thread in here for that). plus it's a comic book/graphic novel which in most cases are fantasy in itself which you could make somewhat of an argument for Sin City if you wanted also. which i think there might be a thread in here for that movie.
  5. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    There was a Sin City thread but IIRC it was locked because it wasn't Sci-Fi Fantasy.

    I would agree with VadersLaMent that there needs to be more then a bit of the elements that make up Sci-Fi/Fantasy before you could put it in that category.

    That was my argument against Sin City. Short of it being a comic movie there is nothing Sci-Fi/Fantasy about it IMO. Its a hyperstylized film noir but the stylistic element doesn't necessarly denote SFF IMO.

    I think its one of those things that needs to still be a case by case type thing. IMO there are movies that could be considered "pushing" that would work here and those that wouldn't. With the "Santa Clause" example I think it would work but I don't exactly see it being the next 2,000 post thread. I've been wanting to start a "Fanboys" thread, which is obviously not a SFF film but I think it would work in the forum because it deals with the whole SFF fandom which is really what the forum is about IMO. On the other hand you have something like SAW which has had threads locked in the past even though it may be argured that it is "pushing it" that I don't feel belongs in this forum.

    I remember when Kevin Smith talked at my school some one got up and asked him why he hasn't done any SFF movies yet, his reply was "Did you see Chasing Amy? A lesbian falling for Affleck is about as Sci-fi as it gets" :p
  6. FatBurt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 21, 2003
    star 5
    A lesbian falling for Affleck is fantasy.




    And not of the good kind [face_plain]
  7. Panther50 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 3
    I don't really make much of a differance between SciFi or Fantasy movies, as they all usually contain elements where you have to suspend belief. As far I can see as long as movie contains some degree of Fantasy or SciFi I don't see a problem talking about it.
    But that shouldn't stop other movies from being included, like movies based on comic books eg Sin City even if there isn't any obvious fantasy or SciFi elements people should be allowed to talk about them.
  8. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    Alright, I'll get that Road to Perdition thread up and running then.

    Comic movie != Sci-Fi/Fantasy.
  9. Panther50 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 3
    I just think that alot of people on the board probably read comics, so it would be good to talk about movies based on them even if its not Superheroes. I think Sin City is a better candidate because I think it has more fantistical elements to it, but if that covers Road To Perdition as well then while not. Theres not exactly alot of them so I doubt it will make a big impact on the board as a whole anyway.
  10. CaptainBinaca Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2005
    star 3
    I haven't read much of this thread but movies based on comic book superheroes fall closer to fantasy than Sci-fi, if we're keeping two distinct brackets here. And something like V for Vendetta feels more like a political thriller than SFF
  11. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    I'm glad we're having this discussion publically rather than just between the mods. It's a topic we've had to deal with since this forum started, and we've never really nailed down a policy, and have been dealing with things on a case-by-case basis.

    I'd prefer to get input from the users to see what you want, but please understand that any final decisions will be made by the mod team.

    I think sci-fi is easy to define - the main theme of the movie, or technology used in the movie has to be fictional. Typically speaking that means robots, space-ships, aliens from other planets, time travel, laser guns, etc etc. For me, to qualify as sci-fi there needs to be an element of feasibility to any technology used in the movie.

    Fantasy (for me) is harder to define. You could say that to be fantasy it needs to be set in an environment which is totally make-believe (whereas sci-fi is typically set on earth either now, or in the future). This captures LotR, PotC, Conan, etc etc rather well, but perhaps does not capture the genre accurately.

    Take X-men for example - it's probably more fantasy than it is sci-fi, but it isn't set in middle earth, and there aren't any dwarves.

    Personally I'd like to see our fantasy line be drawn at something which is clearly fantasy rather than an element of the movie being fantasy (like with The Santa Clause).
  12. Jedi_Master_Conor Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2005
    star 6
    malkieD2,

    I can see where you're coming at with The Santa Clause movies, but what are your thoughts on several disney movies. Like Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast? there is a lot of fantasy in both of those and many other disney movies. i know we have threads on Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast already here.
  13. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    see, I didn't particularly believe those movies should be allowed here. They are not fantasy-enough for me. However, that's *my* personally definition, and we're keen to get as much input as possible.
  14. Rox Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2000
    star 6
    Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast I think are perfect examples of what should be in here. Where as the Santa Claus movies are not. Personally I think that Santa is something that is a very real thing for most people up until a certain time in thier life. I guess the same could be said for Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast but Santa is something that is more common in the world and IMO would be ruled out.
  15. ObiWan506 Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2003
    star 7
    So what is common in everyday culture is considered not to be Fantasy? What if it's a slight variation? Does one small variation from everyday culture make something fantasy enough?
  16. Queen_Pixie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 1999
    star 4
    Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast are hardly fantasy or sci-fi. They are both simply stories(or fairy tales, however you want to think of them) that have been "Disney-fied".

    There can be simply fiction stories too, that can have fantastical elements to it. Do I believe that Stephanie Plum REALLY has that much drama in her life? No, her life is the work of Janet Evanovich, put into book form for the rest of us to enjoy. If/when the movie adaption of the first book in the Plum series comes out, am I going to rush to discuss it here? No...it is not fantasy, just simply a funny mystery/romance book.

    The line does have to be drawn somewhere. Eureka yeah...CSI no(no matter how far "out" there some of the storylines are).





  17. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    I like the idea that we have input on this, but you could make this real simple and just refer to IMDB and see where they place a film. If it's not in the scifi or fantasy or horror genres then it doesn't go in this forum.
  18. ObiWan506 Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2003
    star 7
    That's normally what we do and we can always revert to that if we wanted to. But do you want something else telling you what you want in your forum? Wouldn't you rather define it yourself?
  19. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    Unfortunatly since IMDB is user submissions there are many things that wouldn't be apropriate for the forum that would have SFF labels on it.
  20. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    Exactly - as 506 points out, we have the ability to generate our own policies rather than rely on someone else's who perhaps doesn't care exactly which movie fits into genre.

    That's well put - I think we can (and should) separate fantasy from fairy-tale.

    Aladdin and The Santa Clause are fairy tales, whereas LotR is fantasy.
  21. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    You think?

    IMO a fairy tale is synonymous with fantasy.

    Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, etc. "Disney-fied" or not.

    I guess my argument would be that it would certainly count if it were live action so why do we discount it only because its animated? I mean if one were to start a thread on one of the 1001 Nights minis that Sci-Fi shows from time to time I don't know if anyone would bat an eye at it.
  22. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    It's nothing to do with animation. The FinalFantasy movie is perfectly placed in this forum, as is the Animatrix, and the Riddick animation.

    For me it's more to do with the content and themes. I'd personally prefer to see fantasy being more unbelievable.
  23. Jedi_Master_Conor Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2005
    star 6
    that's my reasoning to. i don't know off top my head but i'm pretty sure there's some live action movie out there relating to Aladdin or a magic genie in a lamp. would that be discounted?

    here it is:

    Aladdin and His Magic Lamp (1966)

    i know it's old but it still has that theme and magic in there which in my opinion includes fantasy and the same applies to Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin since they have magic in them. i know it's not that much comparable but look at the show "I Dream of Jeannie". that's loaded with magic stuff and so is "Bewitched". so are going to draw the line with how magic is used in tv shows or movies? i'm sticking w/ my position that movies like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin should be allowed in here.
  24. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    I was referring to Disney Animation more-so then animation in general even if I didn't make that clear.

    I certainly don't think that all of them fall under the SFF banner by default. You couldn't say that Finding Nemo is Fantasy just because it has talking fish in it. That would go for any of the anthropomorphized Disney movies out there.

    By the same token I don't think you can dismiss it just because its a Disney movie with anthropomorphized parrots, tea cups, or carpets. To me Aladdin in any incarnation is a prime example of what would be considered fantasy. Sorcerers, magic lamps, far off lands, its themes and content is very much fantasy IMO.

    That was my original point. I don't think that certain movies should be not considered proper for this forum just because they would be too "kiddie" or something along those lines. I guess what I'm getting at is that at least in this example there are all of the markers of any other fantasy movie (at least IMO). All of the "themes and content" are there its just the telling that differs from other formats that are more prevalent in the forum.
  25. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    So some would say Aladdin is not fantasy because it's a Disney feature. What about Sleeping Beauty? "Now shall you deal with ME, o Prince - and all the powers of HELL!" then maleficent turns into a dragon to attack the Price. That's fantasy right there. Perhaps Aladdin is really some sort of fable or just an Arabian tale of folklore: Wizard, magic item that summons a genie, that's fantasy genre stuff.

    My suggestion to use IMDB was just that, a suggestion. Of course I'd rather we decide, but it makes for a nice guideline to start.
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